Upon Starting the Second Term

In the last Tottori gubernatorial election, I was reelected as prefectural governor. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the prefectural residents for their generous support. With a variety of problems and issues ahead, it’s necessary to direct Tottori Prefecture onto a development track. This task cannot be tackled by the prefectural administration alone. We will cooperate with various sectors, work together to create our future, and fulfill our responsibility in Japan. In addition, we will implement our economic growth strategies and expand our projects aimed at the growth of primary industries, medical welfare and so forth, in order to create 10,000 job positions. We will also try and realize vitality and safety in Tottori Prefecture through measures aimed at building safe and secure livelihood, such as disaster prevention, and measures for the elderly and the disabled. With a view to “Tottori Prefecture with Human Assets,” we will tackle the issue of the educational reform, targeting elementary, junior high and high schools and the like.

Presidential Election of National Governors’ Association

The presidential election of the National Governors’ Association is under way now. Some young governors have agreed on joining hands and recommending Mr. Keiji Yamada, governor of Kyoto Prefecture, as president. The young governors consist of Miyagi Governor Murai, Nagano Governor Abe, Hiroshima Governor Yuzaki, Tokushima Governor Iizumi, Kochi Governor Ozaki, and me. During the initial stage of the bird flu epidemic in Japan, Governor Yamada exerted his remarkable leadership. That’s why we, the 6 governors, think him an ideal candidate for the presidency and are about to start off today toward his election as the president of the association.

Great East Japan Earthquake (Tohoku Earthquake)

Yesterday I convoked the meeting of the task force for the Great East Japan Earthquake. As a result, it has been decided that a meeting will be held as early as next week on April 18 in order to overcome the related impacts within our prefecture. In addition, in response to our decision to provide the evacuees in our prefecture with grants amounting to a maximum of 300,000 yen, Shinnihonkai Newspaper Company and its distributors promptly offered to donate about 10 million yen for the purpose. Such a large sum of money is highly useful in order to enhance the support system for the disaster victims. I’m deeply grateful to various organizations in Tottori Prefecture for their cooperation and support. Another squad of volunteers against the disaster has also been decided to be dispatched on April 18.
 As for our action against the national government, I’m planning to go to Tokyo myself and make requests regarding the recent disaster. The current national nuclear safety system, including the EPZ (Emergency Planning Zone) has serious flaws, I believe. I will also make requests to the management of the Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc., by conveying our feeling as a neighboring region (to Shimane Prefecture, where a nuclear power plant is located) and so on.

Establishment of Future Creation Promotion Head Office

We are planning to set up the Future Creation Promotion Head Office [as tentatively translated] within our prefectural administration in late April. It will be launched as an across-the-board organization. In line therewith, it will also be necessary to form a review panel composed of experts as well as various project teams. In the same manner, we will start up a project aimed at attracting 2,000 migrants (to Tottori) in 4 years.

Visit to Tottori by Relevant Parties of “ENJIN 01 Cultural Strategy Council”

There in a nationwide conference called “ENJIN 01 Cultural Strategy Council [as tentatively translated].” As a result of our efforts and adjustments to host this large-scale event in our prefecture, it’s been decided that Tottori City will play a leading role in promotion of this conference. Next week on April 18, the relevant parties of this ENJIN 01 will visit Tottori and conduct inspections in order to make final decisions. I strongly hope and expect that Tottori Prefecture will be approved on this occasion to host the open college, a large event of ENJIN 01.

Q. Is it unusual for young governors to recommend a candidate for presidency of the National Governors’ Association? And what impacts do you foresee it will have on decentralization?

In consideration of various points including experience, past records, and capacity for negotiations with Tokyo, we made up our mind to suggest that Kyoto Prefectural Governor Keiji Yamada assume the post. I think it unusual that young governors send out such a signal in the history of the National Governors’ Association. If Tokyo goes as far as to decide that they should delegate the domestic politics to prefectures and municipalities in principle, the national government will be more efficient and free from debts, and the regional governments will be able to fulfill their tasks reasonably in accordance with the will and decisions of the residents under the system based on hands-on approaches.

Q. Your manifesto includes the drastic reform of Tottori University of Environmental Studies. Will you be specific about your perspective on the reform toward the future and the issues you are envisioning now?

The blueprint was already released last fiscal year. In accordance therewith, the university authorities are scheduled to submit the relevant application to the national government in May. If it’s completed, we will proceed with the concrete measures with an eye to opening the university in the next fiscal year. The schedule is extremely tight, but we will try and go forward appropriately and accordingly.

Q. With regard to establishment of Office of Long-term Planning, you expressed your intention to invite parties outside the prefectural administration on board. Who do you have in mind as the candidates?

I’m thinking of people who represent those working in the fields. With regard to reviewing partnerships, it will be necessary to have NPOs, vigorous activists, or scholars and the like capable of academic approaches. It should go beyond a mere internal organization within the prefectural administration.

Q.You referred to creation of a risk management bureau in your manifesto. Do you naturally intend to respond to the nuclear disasters by establishing this new bureau, as one of its tasks?

We are conducting thorough surveys on whether we have any staff members who are familiar with nuclear safety on board. If not, we will seek the possibility to recruit such staff members from other parts of Japan. It’s necessary to settle on someone who is knowledgeable enough to discuss safety measures from the viewpoint of an adjacent region (to a prefecture where a nuclear power plant is located) and appoint him or her in a clear manner as the staff in charge within the functions of risk management.